By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
How often do you cry?
I cried today already.
My brother’s family came home for a brief visit from Dubai. They’ve been here for 11 days. I have a niece (2) and a nephew (4) and this morning they packed up and went away for a couple of days. I guess I woke up feeling stressed and that carried over into my interactions with my family even though I knew I was going to see them later again this week and it was not the final good-bye.
The two year-old, as delightful as she normally is, was in a real mood. My mom said she had gone to bed late and woke up too early at 6:30am. I think sleep deprivation had reared its ugly head. She was crying and kicking and hitting and was generally being a royal brat. I guess that’s what they mean when they say, “Terrible two’s.” I of course can’t use that excuse for myself though.
The four-year-old was quieter when I came over but was generally feeling a little sad. He wasn’t interested in eating his lunch and tears dripped from his eyes. He was trying to wipe them all away. I asked him, “Are you tired?”…”No.” “Are you sad?”…”No.” “Do you want a hug?” “Yes” and he reached around me and we hugged each other for three or four long minutes and that’s what made me cry. Now I’m crying just writing about it. It was a lovely moment between me and my God-son.
All kinds of things make me cry. That was just today’s trigger. Usually, I cry because someone tells me something I don’t want to hear. Or I cry just because I’m frustrated from mounting tension and it just boils over like a volcano. Or my hormones may end up being the culprit. Sometimes I cry out of sheer sympathy, empathy and compassion for someone else. I can’t remember the last time I cried from physical pain. For me to cry, something sets off a chain reaction and I haven’t figured out how to de-rail the train mid-way so I can somehow avert the cry. It’s a work in progress.
If I’m going to cry at a movie, it will be during a separation or a reunion scene, like when a mother gets separated or reunited with her children, out come the waterworks, as they say. But Terms of Endearment, the biggest tear-jerker of all time, made me laugh the first time I saw it. In that case, it wasn’t the movie itself, it was the audience’s sniffling that triggered me. How insensitive.
A couple of weeks ago, I cried because my favourite co-worker was threatening to quit her job. Somehow as I was talking to her, I spontaneously combusted into tears as a last resort plea to make her re-think her actions. There was a lot more background that I won’t go into. Suffice it to say, crisis dodged…barely. Those were some tough negotiations and crying bought some time. And it made her see how serious things were. I wouldn’t recommend that tactic, unless you’re a seasoned pro like I am:> Then again, pulling out the ol’ surprise cry makes people go, “What the…???” and it just may work in your favour.
I also cried that same week as I was driving home from Jazzercise class when I should have been feeling pretty good. I don’t know what came over me but Barry White’s, You’re the First, the Last, My Everything came on the radio and there I was crying. Who does that??? I couldn’t help myself. That was more of a happy cry, by the way.
According to an article published on August 12, 2009 in the telegraph.co.uk:
“Women spend the equivalent of 16 months of their lives crying, according to a new poll.”
“And for women aged 26 and over, who also cry for 2 hours and 14 minutes a week, the most common causes for an emotional outburst include falling out with a partner, hearing someone else’s bad news and feeling tired.”
Check out the whole article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6013010/Women-cry-for-16-months-of-their-lives.html.
I’d say I cry at least that much and for those kinds of reasons. We produce emotional tears because it’s a means of communication and it starts at birth. Before developing speaking skills, infants express frustration, pain, fear, or a need through tears. Meanwhile, adults may use crying to reach out to bond with others and to exchange some level of comfort and support.
According to an unnamed study of 300 adults mentioned in Wikipedia Encyclopedia, women cry on average at least five times per month, especially before and during the menstrual cycle when crying can increase up to 5 times the normal rate, often without specific and obvious reasons. Men only cry once every month, probably because in many cultures, it is not as socially acceptable for men to cry as it is for women and kids.
I say, if it helps release stress, it can’t be all that bad. Crying may be embarrassing and it may be ugly but it helps restore the chemical balance in the body. And a good cry does help people feel better.
What do you think? Do you use crying as a tool to deal with stress or do you think people who cry are weak?